Friday, March 25, 2011

Are You In-Love With Your Characters or Just In-Like?

Hi Everyone!!

I hope everyone had a great week! It's been a bit colder than I'd like, but I can smell Spring in the air and I will patiently wait for it to come.

Maybe, not so patiently, since I've been cursing the cold since the first day of winter. Okay, so I hate winter and I live in a state shaped like a mitten. I do see the irony in that.

On to more exciting things. AKA the actual point of this post. Ha.

So I've noticed something in my current WIP that I'm revising.

What might that be? Well, I will tell you.

I may not be in-love with my characters. You know how I know this? My own characters don't make me all tingly inside when they kiss, or when they almost kiss. When something exciting happens my heartbeat doesn't get all wonky.

You may be saying, "So does that mean I'm not in-love with my own characters? Erica, that's preposterous. *Have you been sniffing glue again?"

Um, no.

I don't know what's going to happen to other writer's characters, and I know what's going to happen with mine, well most of the time. Ha. It's hard to actually know how they're going to make me feel, because I'm writing what they say and feel. I know what happens and isn't it the unknown that makes us FEEL. When we don't know if someone is going to end up with who they love, or when we don't know if someone's going to die or make it out of a precarious situation (yes, I spelled precarious correctly on the first try. *fist bump*)

So, how do I really know if they are real, sincere, good characters? The answer is simple actually.

Let someone else read it.

I truly believe I'm not going to be able to tell if there is real tension with my characters. I don't really know if what they say is funny. I only know what I think, which - don't get me wrong - is VERY important, and in many ways the most important. But if you let say five, six people read it and they all agree that a character is flat, or *gasp* a dreaded Mary Sue, then you know.

I read books for the characters first. I LOVE a great story, plot, action. I'm a plotter at heart, but really... it's the characters, the VOICE that pulls me in and gets me to care.

So. How do you feel about your characters? Are you in-love or in-like with them? And what about the people who've read your story. What do they think?

Does this make sense to anyone else? Do you feel the tingles from your own characters? Am I just a rambling fool. Don't answer that ;o)

Have a wonderful week!!

<3 Er

* I have not and will not sniff glue, and don't try that at home. It's stupid.

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at

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  1. I'm so with you on this, Erica. I'm too close and busy doing on the mechanics that I'm not always excited about what's going on with my characters. Wonderful post! :D

  2. Thanks, B! <3 Glad to hear it's not just me ;o) I know, we get so into our stories it's easy to not notice when the tension is there!

  3. I tend to be in love with my characters. They drive my story, they are its heart and soul, without them my story is just a jumble of words that are pure gibberish.

    People tend to like my characters because there is so much energy and emotion in them. If they don't like my characters it is usually because the character is meant to be unlikable. I have had people just like not love my characters and that's okay. I can't expect everyone to feel about them like I do. I realize that I have attachment issues with my characters. LOL!

    Ciao Bella,


  4. Ardee, Nothing wrong with that!! So glad you love them. And totally true, they drive mine too ;o)

  5. Yep, I totally agree. There are scenes I love that I've written between my characters, and yet it's more important what others think, not what I think ;)

  6. Trisha - Totally! I always use my own judgement, but really, if a lot of people say the same thing, then you know something is off ;o)

  7. Good point! We do get away too close and I'm always amazed at exactly which characters my readers attach to, and which they don't.

  8. I have to be in love with my characters, or I can't expect anyone else to be! If you don't want to pluck my male mc right off the pages and love him up, then I have failed : )

  9. Loved the post, Erica!
    Hehe I have to admit I am very much in love with my characters. They plague my mind and make me feel tingly :P I hope once it's out of revisions and off to my betas that they'll love my characters too O.o

  10. Janet, I am very close to my characters as well, sometimes I have to take a step back!

    Gina, Very true. Ooo I bet you have great ones!!

    KT, I'm sure they will love them as much as you do ;o) <3